The Valhalla Primary School teacher at the centre of sexual assault allegations touched at least 23 pupils inappropriately, it emerged on Wednesday.
Provincial Education Department spokesperson Steve Mabona said pupils reported the teacher following a safety awareness lesson at the school by officers from the Tshwane Metro Police Department on January 23.
The 55-year-old is accused of sexually assaulting Grade 5, 6 and 7 pupils.
However, Mabona assured parents who had gathered at the school that the department had the situation under control. It had brought in experts to assist the pupils and to provide counselling.
The swift action by the department saved the teacher from possible harm, as furious parents had rushed there yesterday morning to demand, and ensure, he was not allowed on to the premises.
The parents had vowed to take matters into their own hands to stop him from entering the premises.
However, on arrival they learnt that the department had already asked the man not to report for work due to the seriousness of the allegations.
Mabona, anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee and ward councillor Ina Strijdom had also rushed to the school to engage with and calm down the parents.
Mabona assured parents that a letter of removal from the school was being drafted for the teacher, who would report at the district office for the duration of the investigation.
“The department has a zero tolerance stance to allegations of sexual misconduct.
“Where the allegations are proven true, we will not hesitate to take decisive action against the perpetrators.
“A case was opened at the Wierdabrug police station and the information at our disposal is that the police will use the case docket to interact with the principal and try to access the pupils, with the consent of their parents.
“The police are aware that this is a very serious case. Parents are concerned about the wellbeing of their children.
“We have assured them that our psycho-social unit is here already. What we are going to need is the consent from parents.”
Mabona said the department would also investigate the case of sexual assault and update the parents.
“There is no need for parents to come and shut down the school. The school must be left to be operational as the curriculum is very important and recovery is difficult.
“We encourage parents not to disrupt the school; we will update them on the latest developments.”
A parent said: “I am hurt and disappointed by this because I only found out on Twitter yesterday (Tuesday). I couldn’t even sleep last night; I just wanted to get here and find out what is happening because I have two girls going to this school.”
#NotInMyName secretary-general Themba Masango visited the school with a squad of community activists, who condemned the alleged crime and called for justice.
“Schools are a place where we send our children to be safe.
“We cannot live in the fear of not knowing what will happen to our children in schools.”